I had just hopped onto a bus and ofcourse it was crowded. I tried to reach out for the women's section hoping to find a woman's seat...something I am not a fan of but I realize it's value- in terms of encouraging women to access public transport. I suppose it is regressive- but never the less, I depend on it.
The entire women's section was taken over by men who didnt offer the seat even though they saw a mass of women waiting to sit.
I was tired. It had been a long day..wasnt sure how to get a seat without causing trouble or making a scene. I asked the women around me why men filled up the women's seats. Some smiled and looked away. Some said 'they wont listen, they are like this only'. Eventually after many attempts at getting the local women in the bus to get 'our' seat and failing I went up to a man and asked for the seat. He refused. I stood there , looking at him until he got up. I dont quite fit in , culturally , visually - people see me as alien. I have been asked if Im kashmiri. french or even iranian despite my poor steady attempts at speaking the local language.
Back to the man and the seat and us women:
I continued to look at him and repeatedly ask for the seat. Other women looked on. Ofcourse I was making a scene for 'no apparent reason' as some might interpret...but he finally got up.
I would be considered more of an outsider if I grabbed the seat he vacated, and so instead I asked the local women of the region to sit there. Seeing the scene another man left the women's seat and I finally got my place. It was a strategic move...and as a result I ended up making polite peaceful conversations on my way back home.